Carolina played Atlanta very well last Sunday and barring a late game fumble and heroics from Matt Ryan and Roddie White, the Falcons would have had a loss on their record coming into this game. Atlanta has a few studs on its defense, but they don’t have a great defense. They are great at rushing the QB, especially when they are playing with the lead.
The Redskins running game will go a long way toward keeping Atlanta honest on defense. If Alfred Morris can have another big game running the ball, I’m assuming it opens this offense up to having a big day.
Another important goal for the Redskins should be to improve on third down conversions. Keep the drives alive. That keeps the Falcons offense off the field.
The Redskins offense will also have to be successful in the second half. The offense has played well in the first half of games. If they can figure out how to have the same amount of success in the second half on Sunday they will be in this game.
On defense, it’s simple. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has to find a rhythm with his play calling. The pass rush has been non- existent and the pass defense has been really bad.
If the Redskins are to have any chance of winning, the defense will at least have to make some key stops. This means the pass rush will need to be much better. If the Redskins can rush the passer it will keep the secondary from covering for so long. The longer the play lasts the more the defense is exposed to giving up a big play.
Atlanta has a talented offensive unit. If I’m Haslett, I’m thinking, we have nothing to lose — so be as loose and creative in play calling as possible. There could be some over-thinking taking place on his part, due to a lack of confidence in some of his personnel. That can’t be the case this weekend or it will be another tough day.
I say blitz, blitz and more blitz. Blitz until the cows come home. I never thought I’d say this but the defense has to stop the pass first and then everything else. If Michael Turner beats the Redskins on the ground I’d rather see that happen. Don’t allow the Falcons to win the game through the air.
On special teams, it’s simple. Billy Cundiff better make all of his field goal attempts, period. Everything else positive is a bonus, but the spotlight is on the kicker this week.
Coming into the season, I had this marked down as a no chance to win game for Washington. I’ve changed my mind. This is a very winnable game. It’s at home, it’s outside, there may be rain which would make it difficult to throw the ball, and it’s on grass. If I’m the Redskins head coach, I request that grass be a little taller this Sunday.
I have a feeling that these big, fast Falcons receivers will give the Redskins secondary too much to handle, so I’m going with the Atlanta Falcons on this one. But I think it will be close.